|Newspaper Title||Mercury and Weekly Courier (Vic. : 1878 - 1903)|
|Trove Title||A Golden Dawn|
A GOLDEN DAWN. [FAMILY HERALD CHAPTER XI.-Continued. "Hyacinth," said the kind-hearted mistress of Dene Hall, "I want to speak to you. Why, child, you are losing your beautiful colour ! You look like a white hyacinth indeed ! You must not be jealous of Lady Fraser." The blue eyes raised to her face had something in them of intense pain. "I am not jealous, Lady Rosepene," she said ; but the keen ears detected the ring of pain in the clear young voice. Lady Rosedene went on " No one thinks much of what Lady Fraser does or says ; if any one else did the same things, people would be shocked. She is a thorough flirt. I believe that she could no more see a nice man without trying to make him like her than a cat can see a plump sparrow without wishing to eat it. There is no sincerity about her ; her flirtations never last. Were I in your place, I should take no notice of her." " Then you really think she is flirting with Alan, Lady Rosedene ?" Her ladyship was rather discomposed by the very straightforward question. " I think, my dear, she is trying to do so ; but I do not think she will succeed. Alan loves you too much to think of any one else." " He did love me-he does love me!" said the girl ; but her voice had the ring of dispair in it. " I should laugh at it," continued Lady Rosedene-" not take it seriously. Lady Fraser always devotes herself to the nicest man in the house, no matter who he may be. Alan is the nicest man here." "But he is mine !" said Hyacinth. "Certainly. I know he is, and always will be. He cares nothing about Lady Fraser ; but he cannot be rude to her. Take my advice, Hyacinth, and do not pe jealous." "I will not," said the poor child ; "I am not." "You have no cause," declared Lady Rosedene ; " if I saw that you had, I should be the first to interfere-you know that." But even Lady Rosedene's faith was somewhat shaken that evening, when she saw Alan and Lady Fraser singing together. " Gertrude is cruel," she said. " She cares nothing for the Squire. Why should she make that poor child un happy ? I shall speak sharply to her, if this goes on." Lady Rosedene had no fear of Alan's loyalty ; she had no doubt of his truth and constancy to Hyacinth ; but she could not bear to see the sweet face lose its brightness and the tender eyes their light. Little scenes that were nothing to the outsiders, yet which were full of tragedy to those interested, passed con tinually. One lovely morning in the middle of May the guests were out on the terrace, the widow, as usual, in the centre ofa brilliant laughing group. Alan and Hyacinth were near her ; and she was pretending to read the character of each person present by the flower that he or she admired. She made some wonderful" hits"-above all when Captain Clifton said his favourite flower was the poppy. The character of a brave and reckless soldier which she drew from that was clever in the extreme. Alan listened with wonder. Presently she turned to him. " What is your favourite flower, Mr. Branston ?" she asked. He laughed as he replied "My allegiance is divided between two, and they are very different." " What are they ?" she asked. "The white hyacinth and the blue cornflower," he replied. She laughed the low silvery laugh which was like a chime of bells. "The fact that you are divided between two shows that you prefer neither. Your favourite flower shall be a spray of apple-blossom ; from which I will sketch your character ;" and she proceesed in a few pictnresque words to give such a description of Alano, with such happy "hits," that every one was amused-except Hyacinth. She tried to reason with herself, to believe that there was nothing in it ; but the hot fire ofjealousy was burning her very heart away. She silently withdrew from the laughing group, and Alan was so deeply engrossed by Lady Fraser's brilliant wit that he did not mise her. He found Hyacinth an hour after wards in the garden. "My darling," he said, "why did you leave me ? I never saw you go away." He sat down by her, and drew the fair troubled face near to his own. "Alan," she asked," do you really love me ?" " What a question to put, when we are to be married so soon !" he replied. "Bnt do you love me better than any one else ? she pursued. "Yes-ten thousand times better. I love you with all my heart and soul. I have no thought, no wish, no desire, no hope, that does not begin and end in you' Hyacinth." "Then," eried the girl, "why do you torture me ? Oh, Alan, if you love me, why torture me ?" He looked at her in amazement. " I torture you, Hyacinth ?" he ex claimed. "Why, my darling, I would not hurt a hair of your dear head ! How do I torture you ?" " You do not understand," she said with a bitter cry ; and, she left him, lest he should see the tears she could not restrain.